How to Find the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Choosing to work in a new profession and enroll in a trade school near Anchorage AK are serious decisions that will greatly influence your future career. But just how do you accomplish locating the right one with numerous vocational schools to pick from? Of course you must select a school that is reputable and well regarded so you can be confident that you will obtain the comprehensive training needed to succeed in your new occupation. One of the first things that many future students hone in on when starting their search is how far the trade schools are from their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But there are additional important qualifications aside from location and cost that must be part of the decision making process as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the vocational schools are accredited, or if they offer job placement assistance. So prior to beginning your evaluations and comparing trade schools, you must know what questions to ask so you can get the information to make a final selection. We will address a few of those questions shortly in this post. But to start with, let's look at some of the vocation options that are available as well as the availability of online schools.
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Vocational School Program Options
There are an abundance of trades to pick from in vocational schools that offer rewarding and good paying careers. Perhaps you have already decided on one that you have long wished to pursue. For example, perhaps you have always had fun working on your car and have considered using that ability to make a living as a car mechanic. Or perhaps a family member has had a long and successful career in a particular vocation or trade and you would love to follow in his or her footsteps. No matter what your motivation is for entering a trade, there is likely a program available that will give you the training you require. Following is just a small representation of the vocational training programs that are available in the Anchorage AK area.
- Automotive Technician
- Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Tech
- Electrical Technician
- Truck Driving
- Aircraft Maintenance Tech
- Lab Tech
- Construction Management
Each of the programs will have differing completion times and costs based upon the trade, type of credential and school. Some of the programs may be completed in a few weeks, while others will call for several months or even two or more years of training. All of these variables should be taken into account before selecting a trade and a school.
Trade Schools Online
Online schools have become very popular with Anchorage AK students and increasingly more accredited programs are becoming available. While online learning is a readily available and practical way to obtain a degree or certificate, it may not be the best option for all trades or vocations. For instance, training to drive a semi truck is not something that you can accomplish online, nor is learning how to weld. These are skills that need to be acquired through practical training and by doing it, not by studying or watching videos. But certain elements of the training can be appropriate for online classes, for instance learning driving and safety regulations for truck driving schools or learning about metallurgy or how to read blueprints for welding schools. A number of programs will combine online education with on campus practical training, for example for HVAC or plumbing schools. So it is very important to determine before enrolling in an online school for any trade if there is an adequate amount of hands-on training allocated to the course of study. One way to help ensure that a trade school program is both suitable for online learning and delivers in-depth hands-on training is to confirm that it's accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). For those vocations that are suitable for online training, it can be a practical way for individuals with limited time to acquire a new vocation.
What to Ask Vocational School Programs
When you have decided on the vocation and type of certificate or degree that you wish to earn, either on campus or online, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many technical schools in the Anchorage AK area and throughout the Country to choose from. That's why it is extremely important to have a checklist of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As previously stated in our opening paragraph, tuition and location will probably be the first 2 factors you will take into consideration. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many Anchorage AK area trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as HVAC technology. Make sure that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing where applicable.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help evaluate the quality of a vocational school near Anchorage AK is how long it has been in business. A poorly ranked or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a big plus. Having said that, even the best of schools had to begin from their opening day of training, so use it as one of several qualifiers.
Completion Rates. Ask the vocational schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Anchorage AK area.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Anchorage AK area companies in the trade. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Anchorage AK contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Alaska and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Learn More About Technical Colleges in Anchorage
Enroll in the Best Anchorage Vocational School
Enrolling in the ideal trade school near Anchorage AK is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the vocation of your choice. As we have discussed in this post, you should select a trade school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the trade. Other things to search for are plenty of practical training and state-of-the-art facilities. You should visit each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to inspect the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling options and whether night or weekend classes are available if needed. And remember to ask about financial aid and student loan options also. If you ask the right questions as we have laid out in our checklist for evaluating schools, you'll be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can ultimately become a licensed professional in your chosen trade.
Anchorage Vocational Training | Anchorage Technical Colleges